We all can get caught in ruts: visually, figuratively, emotionally, literally. For professional photographers and artists it can be very frustrating and also limiting to contend with. It happens to all of us. So how do you break out of it? How do you get back on the horse and ride off into the sunset of success?
There’s not a simple answer, but there is a simple exercise that can help you move through it. I do it by asking myself, “What would I ‘never’ do?” I have a rut that I fall back on nearly every time I get a bit compromised or over-challenged. As photographers, we all do this and we make those images that are ...”nice.” But to get out of our rut, we need to take some chances. That’s when I ask myself, “What would I never do?” Would you never lie on your back? Would you never use a wide-angle lens? Would you never shoot in the rain? Would you never shoot on a plane? Would you never shoot at night? Would you shoot never without looking through the lens? You wouldn’t? Never? Okay, so do that. You have already done what you already know, so take some time to make an image that you don’t know.
The only way to factually know the outcome, like in science, is to test the theory and do the work. Take a chance, crawl on the ground, or go out in the rain, or climb a tree or approach that stranger on the street, use the wrong lens, or shoot in the wrong light. Challenge yourself to make a mistake, a “happy accident.” So … “What would you ‘never’ do? “
Learn more from Alan, from lighting portraits to ruts, this summer:
with Alan M. Thornton
June 24 - June 29, 2012